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Modelling Agriculture's Contribution to New Zealand's Contribution to the Post-2020 Agreement
This report has been commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to provide information on expected future agricultural emissions and the potential of mitigation actions. It aims to assist in developing different approaches to an agricultural target as part of New Zealand’s contribution to a post-2020 agreement under the UNFCCC.
The report provides emissions data obtained from a range of emissions scenarios (baselines and targeted mitigation actions to reduce absolute emissions and/or emissions intensities relative to baselines) through until the year 2050, with a specific focus on 2030. Scenario analysis has been used to explore the consequences of different approaches for emission trends.
This report considers mitigation options consisting of various ways of improving farm efficiency alongside those that rely on the implementation of new technologies. The mitigation scenarios do not include policies or regulations that would imply significant additional constraints on land, stocking densities or nitrogen loading, or policies that would shift the profitability of different types of land-use through imposition of a cost of carbon on agriculture. Modelling the effects of such policies would require the use of economic tools and would rely on policy assumptions outside the scope of this report.
Changing global market conditions could also have a major impact on agricultural production and emissions in New Zealand, but the characterisation of future global markets, let alone quantification of their implications for New Zealand livestock production and emissions, was beyond the scope of this report.
Related to the above exclusions, the report did not investigate potential changes in total available agricultural land and the level of use of agricultural land between ruminant livestock and production forest, horticulture or arable crops. In other words, a basic assumption of the report is that agricultural land currently in ruminant livestock production will remain in some form of ruminant livestock production, and the only changes considered relate to the balance of livestock species and intensity of production systems, including use of specific management practices and technologies. While this assumption of a static total land area for livestock production is unlikely to remain the case in reality over the next several decades, it is beyond the scope of this report to assess potential changes in land use.
Based on the individual mitigation options considered in this report, a combined package of mitigation outcomes (both on an absolute emissions and emissions intensity level) is presented, including the influence of the choice of base year (or base period) and metrics to aggregate emissions intensities from different sub-sectors (dairy, sheep and beef). The report does not make any recommendations on suitable or desirable targets, but seeks to inform political decisions about such targets by presenting the influence of different measures on emissions and providing a high-level indication of economic, environmental and social aspects relating to their implementation in a New Zealand context.
Download the report (external website)
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